The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration

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'Astonishing images of the dissected and diseased … superbly erudite and lucid accompanying text' - The Guardian

A beautiful and strangely fascinating visual tour through disease in an age before colour photography, which draws on the Wellcome Trust's collection of historical books and pictures.

With detailed illustrations of afflicted patients from some of the world's rarest medical books, historic maps, pioneering charts and contemporary case notes, the book is extremely enjoyable, erudite, if a bit gruesome.

These images date back from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, a time when medicine was moving away from the principles of Hippocratic humoralism. The period also saw the beginning of the mass-production of books for the education of medical students. 

This richly illustrated and beautifully designed book is divided into ten sections each covering a different disease such as gout, leprosy, smallpox and cholera. Author, Richard Barnett is a talented narrator and weaves fascinating stories through the book from the origin of the corpses used to portray the diseases through to the story of how diseases were identified and treated.   

A great present for the morbidly curious.

  • Author: Richard Barnett
  • Hardcover: 256 pages | 354 illustrations
  • Date published: June 2014
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0500517345 
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.2 x 2.9cm

'a treasury of the most handsome and curious lithographic prints found in nineteenth-century clinical textbooks...Richard Barnett serves up fascinating synopses of the cardinal diseases of the period, each chapter dotted with grisly factoids- even acknowledging the role of state power, imperialism, and abjection in the manufacture of these images' - Bomb Magazine

'Astonishing images of the dissected and diseased … superbly erudite and lucid accompanying text' - The Guardian

'The excellent choices of images, high production standards, and formidable scholarship of The Sick Rose suggest that it is a book that will endure. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in art, medicine, history, or, simply, the difficult and exhausting business of having and maintaining a body'  - The Lancet

‘Grotesquely alluring … wonderful … the scholarly Barnett renders historical content entertaining’ - The British Journal of General Practice

‘In this riotous compendium of growths and pus, overrun with rashes and studded with pimples, the medical historian Richard Barnett proves to be a lively guide to his deadly subject … an essential addition to the library of any artist interested in the human body’
- Printmaking Today

'Doesn’t stint on the nasty details, but behind the gore is an honest depiction of life and death … a transfixing, sublime collection of portraits of the highest art’ – The Times

Appalling, if brilliantly rendered, illustrations …a fascinating book, albeit only for those with strong stomachs’
– Nature

‘… the graphic detail may not be for squeamish readers but even they must admire the wonderful artwork that makes the book a celebration of the work of the artists, engravers and printers who created them’ – Pharmaceutical Journal

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